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Can job promotions make consumers more generous?

Experts say charitable organizations can thrive when consumers making more money

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Photo (c) Constantine Johnny - Getty Images
A new study conducted by researchers from the American Marketing Association explored how consumers’ generosity changes when they receive promotions at work. 

While several factors come into play, the researchers learned that consumers who received promotions -- and larger paychecks -- were likely to donate more money to charity. 

“Price promotions can have a positive effect on consumers’ donation behavior because the monetary savings from price promotions increase consumers’ perceived resources,” said researcher Kuangjie Zhang. “We also show that the positive effect of price promotions on consumers’ donation behavior is stronger when consumers focus on the amount of money saved, when the purchase falls within their budget, and when the monetary savings can be realized immediately.” 

What makes consumers more likely to give back?

To better understand how getting a job promotion can affect consumers’ generosity, the researchers analyzed seven previous studies that explored similar ideas. 

Ultimately, the researchers learned that making more money led to larger charitable donations. They explained that a larger paycheck is likely to make consumers feel more financially secure, and with that security, they feel better equipped to give back more. Additionally, they found that consumers were the most likely to give back when prompted for a charitable donation right after making a purchase. 

The researchers say it’s important for consumers to see the benefits of the donation; otherwise, it could make them more skeptical to donate in the future. Though making more money can lead to greater security, it can also make consumers more aware of just how much they’re spending and saving. 

The researchers found that consumers are likely to second-guess their charitable contributions when they focus more on money going out than on money coming in. This line of thinking can lead to worries about overspending, which might impact how much or how often they donate in the future. 

Greater insight for charities

However, there are several positives to take away from this study. In knowing that job promotions are likely to make consumers more generous, the researchers suggest that these findings could be particularly important for charitable organizations. For groups that are looking for donations, focusing the search on those who have just received promotions can be a great place to start. 

The researchers are excited about these findings because they show how consumers’ behavior following a job promotion can work to improve the world at-large. 

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